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Walking Poles or not?

PatrickM

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (05/2018)
#1
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
 

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RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#2
I say use a set of trekking poles. They definitely do assist one in walking more efficiently and do take stress and pounding off the knees. Also they give your upper body a little bit of a workout.
Go on youtube and watch a couple of videos on using them.
My advice is buy a set in Saint Jean. Probably less than 25 euros.
If while on the Camino you decide you do not want to use them for any reason? Just leave on a donativo table. Somebody can always use them.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#4
Patrick, first welcome to the forum.

I am very pro trekking poles.I use mine 100% of the time when walking various Camino's. They are most useful when ascending or decending hills and negotiating wet muddy areas. But I find them also useful on dead flat areas as I can maintain a much better pace with them, then without them. Since your arms are assisting your legs I find I have much less fatigue at the end of a day.
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I bought carbon fibre poles. They are extremely lite and very strong. I have rubber tips on mine to keep the clicking noise down on hard surfaces, but remove them if I have a long stretch on natural trails as the carbide tips are better off road.
There are You Tube videos on technique so that you can gain the maximum benefit from them.
I use to cross country ski, so I find poles very natural to use.
You will find after 800 kilometers your arms after and chest muscles will be much more toned after using them as well.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#5
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I use my poles all the time, except in crowded cities and towns. I had never used poles before, so I chose Pacer Poles. Their ergonomic grip makes them practically "idiot proof", as there really is no learning curve to use them, after you have adjusted them to your height.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#6
Definitely yes to hiking poles. Your knees and feet will appreciate the difference as you transfer effort to arms. Good for balance up hill and down. No more "sausage" fingers as you increase blood flow through your hands. Useful to ward off threatening dogs or livestock. I have even used a pole to hang laundry by adjusting it to fill a gap between walls. You can suspend a backpack from a bunk frame inserting vertically through the grab loop.
 

Phil71

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
#7
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#9
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I had rubber tips on my poles at all times. No click clacking from me!
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#10
If you are practiced using poles prior to Camino, then take them; you will be glad you did. Otherwise, they are just dead weight which will be more cumbersome than helpful. YouTube has some wonderful tutorials which can be of help when starting out.

On Camino last September, I saw loads of pilgrims who seemed to have heard that having trekking poles were the "thing to do", and yet had no clue to their proper use. You could see from the way the were used that many had no knowledge on their deployment. I even saw pilgrims literally dragging their dangling poles behind them, straps looped around their hands, with the poles moving loosely forward and back trailing along the path as they took each step. Not just to grab a water bottle or a snack, but for 15 to 30 minutes before finally passing them by.

I even held an impromptu "clinic" during a rest break on the way from Larrasoana to Pamplona, where a group of pilgrims who were traveling together also decided to stop. A couple of them started discussing how awkward their poles were and why they ever thought they needed them. A quick ten minute session where I helped them adjust poles to proper height and worked a bit on effective pole synchronization with foot placement while walking, and it was like lightbulbs were going off above their heads.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#11
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
No, you're not in the minority... even a lot of us trekking pole users hate the sound of the clickety-clacking made by poles that do not have rubber tips on them when on hard surfaces. I keep a pair of tips in a hipbelt pocket. When approaching a hard surface, even a rocky trail surface, the tips come out and get put on the poles. Then removed when on dirt. Its quick and easy to do.

Why people are so oblivious to their pole's racket is beyond me; it is probably just the same general obliviotness attributable to a majority of those displaying obnoxious behaviors in public. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Route (last 100+kms) (2011)
Finisterre Route (2012)
French Way (first 100+ kms) (2014)
Northern Coastal Route (first 100+kms) (2015)
French Way (last 100+kms) (2017)
#12
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Wouldn't go without them Patrick. Apart from their invaluable support - especially on the downhills, rocky slopes, muddy stretches & early morning frosty paths, I found their timely rhythm great solace & good company when I walked solo. Because I can't fly out of Santiago with them, I have been through many poles, but always leave them @ reception @ my last Albergue to pass on to whoever may need them. I say Yes!
Buen Camino Patrick
 

tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#13
Patrick, first welcome to the forum.

I am very pro trekking poles.I use mine 100% of the time when walking various Camino's. They are most useful when ascending or decending hills and negotiating wet muddy areas. But I find them also useful on dead flat areas as I can maintain a much better pace with them, then without them. Since your arms are assisting your legs I find I have much less fatigue at the end of a day.
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I bought carbon fibre poles. They are extremely lite and very strong. I have rubber tips on mine to keep the clicking noise down on hard surfaces, but remove them if I have a long stretch on natural trails as the carbide tips are better off road.
There are You Tube videos on technique so that you can gain the maximum benefit from them.
I use to cross country ski, so I find poles very natural to use.
You will find after 800 kilometers your arms after and chest muscles will be much more toned after using them as well.
I agree with everything here. Carbon poles are great, since they have some natural shock absorbing qualities, plus they’re lighter. And yes to the rubber tips. Get the good ones though that are meant to be used for walking rather than the thin rubber tips that come with the poles and only serve as covers for the tips when not being used.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#14
If you are practiced using poles prior to Camino, then take them; you will be glad you did. Otherwise, they are just dead weight which will be more cumbersome than helpful
That's exactly why I chose Pacer Poles. I had never done any backpacking before, let alone using poles. They were very useful for me and never dead weight.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#15
I carried poles the [insert your opinion] Km from a small town in France to a lighthouse in Galicia and used them twice. Once on a loose dog somewhere in Navarre and once to balance my camera on the rocks at Finis Terre. I even cut a pole from a hedgerow to navigate a nicely muddy bit 'cos it was quicker than shedding my pack in the mud to unpack the poles. Most of the time I used my umbrella for balance if the need arose sufficiently.

The Beloved loves my poles and has used them on all her Caminos.

A quick search of the forum might have led you to the conclusion that poles are not necessarily necessary on the Camino Frances but they are compulsory ;0) that is the nature of this forum rather than the essence of the Camino.
 

Dinkumdigger

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Finisterre 2014
Camino Frances,Muxia and Finisterre 2015
Camino del Norte,Arzua to Ribadeo 2015
#16
I carried poles the [insert your opinion] Km from a small town in France to a lighthouse in Galicia and used them twice. Once on a loose dog somewhere in Navarre and once to balance my camera on the rocks at Finis Terre. I even cut a pole from a hedgerow to navigate a nicely muddy bit 'cos it was quicker than shedding my pack in the mud to unpack the poles. Most of the time I used my umbrella for balance if the need arose sufficiently.

The Beloved loves my poles and has used them on all her Caminos.

A quick search of the forum might have led you to the conclusion that poles are not necessarily necessary on the Camino Frances but they are compulsory ;0) that is the nature of this forum rather than the essence of the Camino.
I'm with you on this.
Some years ago I suffered a serious knee injury and I only carry poles just in case it ever gives out on me.I have never used them on 1000's of miles of hill walking and caminos although I have lent them out to fellow peregrinos in need.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#17
That's exactly why I chose Pacer Poles. I had never done any backpacking before, let alone using poles. They were very useful for me and never dead weight.
I wonder if there is something about the grip of Pacer Poles that makes it easier for someone new to using trekking poles to "get it". When I've tried Pacer Poles, they seemed to me to work the same as "regular" grip poles, in terms of pole placement and syncing to leg movement while walking. I know that grip is ergonomically different, but the mechanics of use seemed the same to me.

Since I tried Pacer Poles after I'd been using trekking poles for quite a while, it was hard for me to take on a "newbies" perspective to pole use. :)
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#18
I wonder if there is something about the grip of Pacer Poles that makes it easier for someone new to using trekking poles to "get it". When I've tried Pacer Poles, they seemed to me to work the same as "regular" grip poles, in terms of pole placement and syncing to leg movement while walking. I know that grip is ergonomically different, but the mechanics of use seemed the same to me.

Since I tried Pacer Poles after I'd been using trekking poles for quite a while, it was hard for me to take on a "newbies" perspective to pole use. :)
I guess that it's possible that I'm not using them "right", but how I use them works for me! :D
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
#19
To take or not to take?
1) If flying, buy them in SJPDP.
2) Watch some youtube videos or visit a credible outfitter in advance for tips on correct use - it matters!
3) Buy rubber tips.
4) They help on uphill, downhill, and flat.
5) Your mileage may vary.
¡Buen Camino!
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#20
I guess that it's possible that I'm not using them "right", but how I use them works for me! :D
:oops: Oops... didn't mean to imply that you were using them wrong. I was just contemplating why some find the Pacer Poles easier to figure out than the 'regular' grip poles.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#21
:oops: Oops... didn't mean to imply that you were using them wrong. I was just contemplating why some find the Pacer Poles easier to figure out than the 'regular' grip poles.
No worries, it's definitely possible that I don't have the correct form, but they have served me well over 1000 miles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018
#22
I am a hiking pole enthusiast! I used mine everyday and they saved me on multiple occasions. They assisted me with powering through steep ascents as well as helping maintain balance on descents. I brought my cheap ones from WalMart and they held up well.
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#23
Horses for courses. As stated by many great for ascending and descending or rocky terrain. As a general rule don't use them on the flat but help keep a decent pace and rytham when you want to make a bit of ground.
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#24
If one has the basic coordination of being able to walk and naturally swing their arms in rhythm with the walking, they can effectively use trekking poles. You also have to have the desire to use them properly. I think some pilgrims buy them because they were told they were needed, and just have them...because, and just kind of half drag them along for 800 kms. Maybe they think it helps them look like a pilgrim.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Norte/Liebana (Planning)
#28
Patrick, I'd suggest you get a pair and go for a series of walks with them before you depart.
The Camino is a long journey and I firmly believe any piece of equipment should be tested beforehand to avoid issues/regrets/extra weight.

On the specific matter of poles, I hate them and did CF and CP without them. I just can't balance myself and feel like an octopus with too many limbs.
My husband, who walks with me, loves poles, for the reasons mentioned above.

So the best thing is really to try - then you will know if you want them or not :)
 

PatrickM

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (05/2018)
#29
Thank you all! What an energetic discussion! I have been using poles for some time for my usual daily walks as part of my fitness routine, and yes! I have learned the proper technique :)) I am somewhat ambivalent about the need to work on my fitness at the same time as I am having an adventure of a lifetime! I do appreciate all of the points made on both sides of the issue! Thank you all! Now, I think we can all 'move on'!
Buen Camino!
 

musicman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#30
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Essential kit - use both, walking alternate foot to pole - have them at a length that is level with the top of your hips - not just for ups and downs; all your walking.
Improves posture, destresses knees and hips - particularly needful for successive days’ walking.
 

Colette Zaharie

Happy Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterre-Muxia March 2017
Slovakia Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017
El Norte March 1 2018
#32
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I use rubber tip add ons - one on the poles and a second spare set. I wore first set out on my recent Camino after 700k. No clicking at all.
 

DebR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting 15 April 2013 St Jean Pied de Port
#33
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Yes.
Always yes.
Buy them in SJPP if you like, but have them.
They will help more than you can imagine.
 

John Sikora

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese/Coastal Sept
(2019) Via de la Plata - Seville to Santiago May
#35
Add my voice to the pro votes. I find that walking with poles adds at least 50% to the distance that I can cover comfortably. I'm also a fan of using the rubber tips as opposed to metal. You end up going through one or two sets during that long of a walk, but it's worth it just for the reduction in noise. I, like others, find that it helps steady my walk during ups and downs and provides a back respite when just standing. I opted for a little more expensive poles made out of carbon fiber. They are very light, and disassemble easily so that you can pack them into the checked luggage (can't carry them on, of course). Buon Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None
#37
I am a convert to using poles. I bought walking poles about 20 years ago and only used them about 6 times. Now that I am preparing for the Camino, I have watched the videos on proper technique and am using them every time I walk - they significantly reduce strain on my knees on descents and have eliminated swelling in my hands on long flat stretches. At least once, the stability they offer prevented me from tumbling down a steep slope when my foot slipped on some wet ground. I use rubber tips on hard surfaces but they undermine the usefulness of the poles on gravel or softer surfaces. I like the explanation given by one of the videos "poles turn you into a mountain goat with four legs".
 
#38
Patrick, WELCOME!!!

I will be starting about two weeks ahead of you, only 8 days before I begin travelling.

Poles Yes? Poles No? There is only one person who can answer the question of, "Use walking poles or not?" And that is the user.

Poles can be purchased on Rue Citadelle in SJPP just down the street from the Pilgrims' Office, and a couple other places in SJPP before starting. But there is an option, though I do not personally recommend it. Start without poles. See how it goes. If poles become a necessity, there may be some left behind at the next albergue or by the time Pamplona is reached, they can be purchased there. That is only 3 or 4 days in, but also some of the roughest terrain, where poles come in handiest.

Hope this helps.
 

gloria lowe

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017 or Sept 2017
#39
I love them especially for balance . They have kept me from falling many times. I will say it took me a long time to walk correctly with them as I felt my arms and legs were fighting each other. I just kept walking and stopped thinking about it and one day I noticed all was working correctly. Please, please use rubber tips and everyone will love you.
 

Paul Roby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#40
Patrick, WELCOME!!!

I will be starting about two weeks ahead of you, only 8 days before I begin travelling.

Poles Yes? Poles No? There is only one person who can answer the question of, "Use walking poles or not?" And that is the user.

Poles can be purchased on Rue Citadelle in SJPP just down the street from the Pilgrims' Office, and a couple other places in SJPP before starting. But there is an option, though I do not personally recommend it. Start without poles. See how it goes. If poles become a necessity, there may be some left behind at the next albergue or by the time Pamplona is reached, they can be purchased there. That is only 3 or 4 days in, but also some of the roughest terrain, where poles come in handiest.

Hope this helps.
I bought mine at SJPP like said above I paid 20€ in 2016 for the pair and i still have them. They are great do not leave without them. Lots of comments that support this
Buen camino
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 10
Le Puy 16
Thames Path 16
Southwark-Canterbury 16
Estella 17
Paisley-Whithorn 17
#42
@PatrickM , greetings

I was sceptical, now with all the zeal of the convert.

Used since 2015. Would not be without my pair. Found so many uses in addition to the obvious. And rubbers are essential.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Noll

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking May 2018
#43
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
I'm a newbie too - so can't give advice except that I'm taking Poles because most walkers i know or have talked to think that it's a good option and standby
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#44
I'm a newbie too - so can't give advice except that I'm taking Poles because most walkers i know or have talked to think that it's a good option and standby
Be sure to learn how to effectively walk with the poles prior to Camino. For some folks, it takes a bit of time to catch on.

YouTube has a gaggle of videos on trekking poles to help coach you in their use and maintenance.

Adjusting the length of the pole to your needs is also something that takes some trial and error to figure out; the 'guidelines' on adjusting the length are not ironclad. The final length you choose will likely be either more or less than what the 'guidelines' specify, but the guidelines are a place to start. Walk up and down hills, as well as on the flats, to verify that the poles are working well for you.

Once you have the best length sorted out, then scratch a mark on the pole on each section that adjusts. This allows you to quickly restore the exact length that you need should you decide to collapse your poles for storage or carry in your pack; it is a simple matter to move each section to the scratch mark, and then lock that adjustment back in again.
 

SoyGalego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
#45
I've done a couple of Caminos now and I'll always take my hiking poles with me on any future ones. I'm a big fan of them. It's all been covered their advantages and I had read before using them that they save you 10% of energy. On my first Camino they were a God send and saved me a couple of times from falling over. The ones I use are Black Diamond and they're collapsible. I also use rubber tips on them and the Black Diamond tips seem to last for a good couple of weeks even using them on concrete surfaces continuously. I don't even bother to take them off the concrete/asphalt surfaces as they work just as good with them on. As I walk alone I find that the noise they make is kind of hypnotic at times and you get to "switch off" with the noise. As it's been said it also works the top half of your body out as well, not to mention they can fend off any unwanted attention from animals.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#46
Definitely yes to hiking poles. Your knees and feet will appreciate the difference as you transfer effort to arms. Good for balance up hill and down. No more "sausage" fingers as you increase blood flow through your hands. Useful to ward off threatening dogs or livestock. I have even used a pole to hang laundry by adjusting it to fill a gap between walls. You can suspend a backpack from a bunk frame inserting vertically through the grab loop.
Good for walking, but as you stated, make an excellent rack for hanging up your laundry to dry. FB_IMG_1524926222724.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
looking into summer 2017
#47
I was anti poles when I started, and went from Irun to Oviedo without them on the Norte. With the elevation changes and climbing, that was a mistake and they surely would have helped me avoid blisters and other issues. I picked up a pair in Oviedo at Decathlon for 5€ each and they made the Primitivo so much easier for me. Like everyone says, you can buy an inexpensive pair and ditch them if you need to. I wish I hadn't been so stubborn, they made a huge difference for me!
 

Colly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2018"
#48
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Hi Patrick, I am walking the Camino Frances at the moment, having reached Los Arcos this evening, I have to say that my walking poles have been the most valuable thing I have brought so far! For uphill and downhill they have been my second pair of kegs for strength and stability..Don’t go without a pair but also use YouTube and learn to use them efficiently to help you! Buen Camino
 

JP

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 - Camino Portuguese 2016 (Coimbra to Albergaria-A-Velha) - Camino Frances 2017.
#49
Saved me quite a few times from a fall going up and down hills. Did not use them going over the bridge going into Santiago last May and I fell flat on my face, only fall of my Camino (cut the side of head and bent my eye glasses). I guess I was to excited to have reached Santiago and was not paying attention to the uneven wood flats on the bridge.
 

Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#53
"Buen Camino" - it's Polish . . . after the Pole/pole pun?
Yes, it was a pun, I couldn't resist! I figured you had replied in Polish, but just wasn't sure what you were saying. Thanks for clarifying!
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
#54
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Absolutely take poles. There is no way I could have done the Camino without the poles. I hike a lot and climb mountains and always use poles
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#55
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Walking poles relieve a lot of pressure off the legs, especially going downhill. On 30 km days, you will be less tired at the end.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#56
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. D4EF45D4-F009-4E65-82D1-16A2AD15975F.png Ian found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#57
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. View attachment 42010 Ian found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
It is very difficult to diagnose trekking pole technique without actually seeing a video; maybe you could post one. Just guessing, it may be that your trekking poles are not adjusted to a proper length.
 
Last edited:

REV

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
#58
"trecile: I use my poles all the time, except in crowded cities and towns. I had never used poles before, so I chose Pacer Poles. Their ergonomic grip makes them practically "idiot proof", as there really is no learning curve to use them, after you have adjusted them to your height.


I agree with Trecile:

Here is an earlier posting of mine about Pacer Poles.

After reading this forum extensively in 2014 before my three 2015 Caminos, I investigated PacerPoles The PP videos and instructions were useful, and the PP unique handle design makes it easy to learn how to use them and difficult to use them improperly. (Chris Bonnington's comments impressed me too.)

Perhaps some of the anti-pole commenters might alter their views if they actually tried PacerPoles.

Here is part of an earlier post of mine about Pacer Poles:

<<
http://www.pacerpole.com

They can be obtained online from Britain. There are also YouTube videos showing how to use them. Their handles are quite different from other poles, and they are very comfortable to use.

I used PacerPoles last year for nearly 1000 miles on the Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese and Camino Ingles. Before that, I used them on a difficult hike in the highlands of Bali. I am 70+ . These poles have been a major contribution to both my safety and my comfort.

Here is a review I just found online:

http://sectionhiker.com/pacer-poles-why-arent-all-trekking-poles-this-good/

It begins:

"British-made Pacerpoles are far superior to the trekking poles you can buy in the United States. I’ve been testing a pair for nearly 2 months and I am a convert. They help me carry a backpack with better posture, prevent muscle soreness in my legs, and are much more resistant to bending and snapping than my current trekking poles.

The main difference between conventional poles and Pacerpoles is in the hand grip. It’s kind of hard to explain so I’ve shot this video to show you. Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles."

I suggest reading the entire review, which also includes:

"If you decide to take the plunge, Pacerpoles has an unlimited 30 day return policy which may or may not give you enough time to decide whether you like the differences or not. Either way, you really need to commit to these poles to get any benefit out of them." AND

"Conclusion
I am very impressed with the aluminum pair of Pacer Poles that I tested in this review and I’m glad I finally tried them. Honestly, I will probably buy a pair of my own rather than continue using Black Diamond trekking poles for three season hiking. The Pacerpole hand grip makes such a difference in my posture, walking speed, and stability that I can’t imagine settling for anything less. If you climb a lot of mountains, you should give Pacerpoles a try. I would recommend sticking with the aluminum ones, only because they will be more resistant to breaking and they are likely to still be usable if you bend them. I’ve snapped way more carbon fiber poles than I ever want to and don’t trust them in very rocky terrain."

My own discovery of PacerPoles was through this Forum, which I explained in an earlier post:

"I do not think I would have completed the Caminos without them, because I had several long stretches with a problem with my left leg. Others in my family have also used them with similarly positive experiences. I tried them after reading a lengthy thread asking something like "Does anyone NOT like PacerPoles?" They are made in the UK, and there is a 30 day trial period. Learning to use them is relatively easy. The instructions and the videos are reasonably straight-forward. With their special, angled grips for the left and right hands it is difficult to use them improperly."
>>
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#59
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. View attachment 42010 Ian found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
I am not 100% sure, but it looks like you are out of rhythm with the arm swing to leg motion. when you walk normally, if your left leg goes forward your left arm goes back, and same for the right side and so on. The trekking poles, at least in my experience, simply go with that rhythm. Just get some poles of any kind and practice wherever. It doesn't have to be on an actual trail.
Your hand placement on the strap is also just as important. You do not really grip the poles most of the time. Your hand rests on the strap.
Also, and I have said this before, any type of stick at the right length would work. You could literally cut two wooden broomsticks to proper length, put rubber tips on the bottoms, say the kind for furniture legs, put bicycle hand-grips on the top, attach straps or cord, and voila you are off like a champ. Not as sexy and cool looking as the 100 euro sets made of aluminium or carbon fibre, but I guarantee they will get you from Saint Jean all the way to the coastal lighthouse on the Atlantic, and have the added bonus of nobody wanting to pinch them, lol.
 

Bornean

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Chemin Le Puy/Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo (2018)
#60
Love my poles. Never used to use them as I always preferred to have my hands free and didn't want to have to deal with carrying more stuff. I started using them about 3 years ago while hiking with an injury (that arguably may not have occurred if I'd had poles in the first place, but certainly wouldn't have been as bad if I'd had poles from day1).

I am now a total covert to trekking poles. My technique is not great, but it is very comfortable and works for me. There are so many benefits that my poles are now an essential part of my gear - except when I'm jungle trekking, where they can be pretty useless.

My left knee, ankle, shin, achilles - the whole limb from knee down, really - is a bit messy and can cause problems bad enough to take me off a trail. My poles help me to continue to do the thing that gives me the most joy. Poles may not always be necessary for me, but walking and hiking are, and if I can't do that - well, I know how miserable I get when unable to get out there because I'm injured.

The benefits I've found:
- better stability, which has been a total blessing - my ankle has responded wonderfully to this. It has been weak ever since I took a tumble coming down a mountain 15 years ago and I've had to deal with multiple sprains, strains, and a couple of fractures over the years. Since I started using poles, I haven't had a serious ankle issue (touch wood!). Descents have always been my downfall, ha, and my poles are a necessity on steep descents
- Even with my lousy technique, I am very aware of how the weight of my pack is being transferred. My knee is grateful for the more equitable distribution of weight. - Bonus, my right leg has been positively exuberant as it is no longer constantly required to compensate for its troublesome sibling.
- Poles are great for circulation! Never had a problem with this before, but once I hit 40, I started to notice that my fingers would start to swell. Adjusting straps on pack didn't help much. But poles were the solution. Bonus vanity point: they do a marvelous job toning the arms :)
- Poles are fantastic for picking up rubbish along trails. It's tiring constantly bending down with a pack to pick up trash, and probably not good for the back. Now I just use the poles to pick trash up.
- They hold my tent up

The biggest benefit of trekking poles, for me, has really been that over the last 3 years, I've not had to deal with any injury that has put me out of commission for long. I used to spend far too much time recovering from one injury after another, and would just get utterly demoralized continuously going through recovery periods and rebuilding strength only to get injured again. Since I've had my poles, I've not had to go through the mental gymnastics required to cope with the crushing disappointment of not being able to hike. And that has been a blessing not just for me, but for anyone who is close to me. Like most people, I'm so much happier and simply a better person when I get to do the thing that gives me the most joy. I'm scheming to do hikes that I wouldn't even have contemplated a handful of years ago.

The ultimate bonus benefit from becoming a trekking pole convert is that I'm always excitedly looking forward now. I had thought that the height of my hiking days were in my 20s and that the best bits were behind me. Utter nonsense!! It has become apparent, and since I started using poles, that my hiking days are really only just beginning - I'm doing longer and more challenging hikes than I ever did before. I can't stop grinning like an idiot at this thought :)

And with that, as it's my 44th birthday today, I'm going to go for a walk because I can't think of a better way to celebrate.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago
#61
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I totally agree, the clack, clack, clack turned me off using them. However I will be starting the walk from Figeac to StJdP at end of May and due to a foot concern, have decided to wholeheartedly embrace the poles. First time ever... after walking many many walks/kms in various parts of the world (pole-less). Unfortunately there are walkers who do not think to put the rubber tips back on when walking on hard surfaces, or simply can not be bothered to pack them.. C'est la vie!
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#62
No, you're not in the minority... even a lot of us trekking pole users hate the sound of the clickety-clacking made by poles that do not have rubber tips on them when on hard surfaces. I keep a pair of tips in a hipbelt pocket. When approaching a hard surface, even a rocky trail surface, the tips come out and get put on the poles. Then removed when on dirt. Its quick and easy to do.

Why people are so oblivious to their pole's racket is beyond me; it is probably just the same general obliviotness attributable to a majority of those displaying obnoxious behaviors in public. :)
I had regular arguments with my son who would clack his way through towns. He loved making the clacking noise. I hated it! I kept telling him to just pick up his walking stick until we got back on the dirt. I also lived for years in tourist cities (Washington DC, Annapolis MD, and Santa Fe NM), and know how much tourists walking though your neighborhood can get on your nerves. The clacking would have had me snatching peoples walking poles away from them. No clacking!
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#63
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
I thought I'd walk without a pole, but bought a wooden one after the second day. After walking for hours my legs felt wobbly and I was afraid I'd turn my ankle. I used just one and changed it from one hand to the other every once in a while.

buen camino--

kate
 

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